Missionary Traps for Muslims

by Macksood Aftab
Managing Editor of The Islamic Herald
The Islamic Herald, April 1996

Part 1: Faith and Works

One of the basic arguments raised by non-Muslims, especially Christians, against Islam concerns the concept of salvation. They say that in Christianity, one is saved by faith, whereas in Islam one must earn their salvation through good deeds.  

Unfortunately, many Muslims fall into the trap of defending the position imposed on them by these non-Muslims. This then provides the Christians with a basis for their entire Jesus-Father-Crucifixion-Salvation framework. They then go on to argue that salvation is a gift from God that cannot be earned. But if the true Islamic concept is made clear, the Christian has no basis to attack Islam.   

Many times, Muslims fail to realize that the Islamic concept of salvation is not based upon good deeds, but is based primarily upon faith 

In the dozens of times Allah (SWT) talks in the Quran about salvation, he always states, "Those who believe and do good deeds."  

Belief is always mentioned before deeds or works.  

When one converts to Islam, one does not do it by doing some good work but rather through realizing and believing that there is but one God and Muhammed (SAW) is his last messenger.  

Non-Muslims may perform good works as well, but what sets them apart from Muslims is their lack of iman, or belief. The reason that the good works of the non-believers are worthless in the hereafter is because of their disbelief. Unless a person's iman or aqeedah is not correct, all his good deeds are worthless.  

One of the more popular hadiths of the Prophet (SAW) states, "All actions are based upon intentions," implying that the purpose, intent, or iman behind your action is what you get rewarded for; the actual action is really a consequence of the belief.  
Another hadith states,  

"A man came to the Prophet (SAW) and asked,  

'When will the day of judgment come?'  

The Prophet (SAW) replied,  'What have you prepared for the judgment day that you are so concerned for it?'  

He replied, 'I do not have any good deeds in my account, but I do have one thing: I love Allah and His Messenger (SAW).'  

The Prophet (SAW) then said, 'In that case, do not worry; you will be with those whom you love.'" (Agreed Upon).  

This hadith also confirms the Islamic position of placing aqeedah and belief before actions. For example, Allah (SWT) says in various parts of the Quran, "The believers you will find praying..."  

He does not say the people who are praying are believers. It is the belief that brings about the action, but the converse is not always true. Another hadith of the Prophet (SAW) states, "Unless one loves Allah and Allah's Messenger more than one's own self his iman is not complete." 

Part 2: The Bible 

Another misunderstanding Muslims often fall into concerns the Bible. Christian missionaries in almost every discussion of the Quran assert that the Quran asks Muslims to believe in the Bible as a revelation of God.  

Many Muslims tend to fall into this trap by saying that "we believe in the Bible as revealed book."  

Once the Muslim accepts this fact, the evangelist can point out that the Bible contradicts the Quran and that since the Bible has precedence over the Quran and since Muslims are required to believe in it, it therefore logically follows that the Bible is right and the Quran is wrong.  

But the Quran says no such thing. There is no reference to the Bible in the Quran whatsoever.  

The Quran mentions the Taurat and the Injil 

The Taurat is the book given to prophet Moses. This is not the equivalent of the Torah/Pentateuch of the Jews and Christians, since much of it was not written by prophet Moses. And the Taurat is definitely not the Old Testament since the OT includes dozens of books attributed to other prophets before Jesus.  

The Injil is translated as the Gospel revealed to prophet Jesus. This is not the New Testament. The New Testament is a collection of 4 biographies of Christ, 27 epistles of St. Paul, and other books on the lives and adventures on the followers of Christ.  

There is no record of a book revealed to Jesus. Perhaps the closest to it are the words of Jesus himself, which constitues less than 10% of the NT. Therefore to say that Christians changed the Bible is an inaccurate statement, and can cause trouble in a discussion, because the Christian can then ask questions such as: Who changed the Bible? When exactly was it changed? How do you know it was changed if you don't have a copy of the original?  

The Bible, or at least the New Testament, cannot be an altered copy of the Injil because it is a completely different book. In fact, the original Bible or New Testament (the very first one) did not correspond to the Injil, Taurat, or Zabur in the first place. It doesn't matter how unreliably it was transmitted; the Bible does not correspond to the Quranic Injil.  

It is not that the Christians have changed the original, but rather they have the wrong book, altogether. The words of Christ are possibly the closest thing to the Injil. The recently discovered Gospel of Thomas, which is nothing but a list of sayings of Jesus, is even closer to the Islamic concept of Injil.  

Therefore, it should be kept in mind in discussion with Christians that the Bible has not been changed, but rather the original documents chosen as the word of God were incorrect.    


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